Gabriela is a non-native New Yorker who travels the world to understand why people wear what they wear and how. She is an independent fashion reporter, trend chaser, and self-proclaimed beatnik.

Vivienne Tam: The Warming Fire

FW16 NEW YORK FASHION WEEK An expressive, color-rich collection from Vivienne Tam this season reminds us why we’re such huge fans of this brilliantly imaginative designer.

From the first look, Tam’s unerring command of color and pattern was obvious. She is nothing less than a visual master at work: her designs would be at home on the walls of any museum of modern art. If fashion truly is “wearable art,” Tam’s works are the proof.

Her designs would be at home on the walls of any museum of modern art.

The other dominant element, this season, was comfort. From the start of the show, you could sense the little warming touches that were discreetly interlaced into the Fall / Winter 2016 collection. With cozy geometric knits — paired with stretch-metallic midi skirts — the Tam lady is bringing in the season with a bit of 1970s feminine nostalgia with a little added snuggliness.

In an interview before the show, Ms. Vivienne Tam shared with me how inspiration brought her to such a successful collection.

Tam says, “My customers are ‘world girls.’ They love fashion, and at the same time they love culture. They have this sense of the world and they love it. They are aware of what’s happening, not just about fashion.”

An impressive girl to be.

My customers love fashion, and at the same time they love culture.

The Collection

[portfolio_slideshow id=11566 align=center width=600 click=advance thumbnailsize=40 showcaps=true]
Photos by Dan Lecca

An infusion of carefully curated jacquards matched with boxed knits immediately shows the globe-trotting Tam customer in her element.


The metallics with subdued earthtones showed how playful she can be. The depth in color incorporated a feminine palette of the ’70s — with soft pinks, muddy browns, and olives — marked by expressive bursts of bold red and purple.

My favorite blend of color was the not-so-shocking bubblegum pink mixed with subdued-though-unexpected gray Lurex (which also made an appearance in BCBG this season), which shakes one to the core when you realize just how feminine it all truly is.

Tam carefully grounds the collection with the occasional gray/black palette, but lets her customer live on in the colorways of Eastern travel. On more serious outerwear pieces, Tam introduced bouts of youth and a ’70s flare through trim on the back yoke and sleeves with long Saint Laurent-like fringe.


Tam’s ability to offer boxy silhouettes with feminine appeal shows her strength, not just in experience, but in knowing what falls so well on a woman’s body and what complements the Tam girl: this traveler who stops at nothing. The casualization of jacquard suiting can be seen with their pairing alongside knits and freestanding neckties, to mimic the far-too-proper bow blouse. Clearly, the culotte is not going away, proving to be a comfortable travel bottom, finishing at times with a flare.

Tam’s ability to offer boxy silhouettes with feminine appeal shows her strength.

It wouldn’t be a Tam collection without the bridge between East and West, and she delivered her signature in key silhouettes with rich East Asian prints that carry us on the magical journey Tam describes. Having designed the rich jacquards herself, Tam notes that she toned down the colors from the original source to translate her vision into designs that knows no limitations, but still effectively emits her message to the masses.


To sign off, I asked Vivienne Tam how she felt about inviting the consumer to the fashion shows, and her response would be music to her customer’s ears.

“I love the idea. The world is changing. I like the idea like D to C, designer to consumer … maybe next season we will do something.”

I love the idea of design to consumer.

Until next season.


With love,